March 16, 2014

Demons Ascension - The Number You Are Trying To Call...

[Posted by Ted H]

.........and the tie ins to "That One Night" begin...


[Demons Ascension - The Number You Are Trying To Call...]

            It had taken James the better part of the day to drive home; a depressing little city called Syracuse. By the time James got home to his apartment, the sun was already set. The place wasn't very big, but James always figured it fit the life he was leading. The neighbors never bothered him and it was within walking distance of a liquor store, a bar and a strip club; none of which James deemed essential but each a definite plus for himself. Inside were several plants he often neglected to water and an infestation of something crawling around inside his walls.
            As he entered, James tossed his coat in the same corner he usually did, three other coats sat crumpled nearby. He walked to the kitchen and lightly tossed the book onto the table as he passed. He flipped on the small television in the corner of the room and waited for any mention of the Chicago murders. After realizing how the local stations cared more about the local college's embarrassingly bad football team than the occurrences of the rest of the world, he switched the TV off and pulled out his phone book. He  searched and tracked down a certain number to dial. James dialed and waited patiently as the phone on the other end rang endlessly.
            "C'mon," James said as the phone just kept ringing. Eventually he gave up and hung up the phone. He sat at his table for a moment with his head in his hands. "This is crazy," he said as he reached over and pulled the book he brought over. He flipped through the pages again, hoping that something would appear that he would recognize. He knew most foreign languages when he saw them, but this was something he'd never seen before.
            "Not even a picture to look at," he said as he lit a cigarette and walked over to his fridge. "Lucky," he said as he pulled out a couple 40 ounce bottles and returned to the table. He proceeded to go through the book, page by page as he drank, looking for anything that could tell him what its purpose was. After both bottles were emptied and the book skimmed cover to cover, he put his head down on the table in frustration.
            "This book is beyond me," he said as he picked his head up and rubbed his eyes. He didn't know how much time had passed, but he was tired and the book had given him a headache. He looked over and pondered his phone book for a moment before he grabbed it and searched out a new number. He sat back and dialed the number as he lit a new cigarette and waited.
            "Hello?" a voice on the other end said after a few rings.
            "Hey Tom," James said "It''s James."
            "You know anyone else by that name that have saved you from jail time?"
            "What do you need, James?"
            "Remember the good old days?"
            "We never had good old days."
            "Relatively speaking."
            "The two of us probably had one of the more atypical years of college."
            "Sure was memorable though."
            "You call me to reminisce about my dead ex-girlfriend?"
            "Back when a murder was nothing more than one person killing another for simple reasons."
            "What's going on?"
            "Nothing," James said as he couldn't help but start to flip through the book again "Remember John's sisters?"
            "...Yeah," Tom said with hesitation. James knew he was throwing the man for a loop.
            "What do you think would have happened if I went with you guys to that party?"
            "You would've had fun. Probably would've gotten laid too."
            "Think it would have kept you from getting hit?"
            "God dammit...I told him never to tell you that story."
            "Sorry, but seriously, what do you think would have happened?"
            "I probably would have kept better track of which twin was which. Why? You think you could've gotten with Brittany?"
            "I thought Brittany was the one you were trying to get with that night?"
            "Piercings don't really do it for me. You remember that fight Meg and I had when she gauged her ears?"
            "Vaguely. But you still wanted to take Brittany home with you that night."
            "Well," Tom said before pausing for a moment "She was into me, both were, and Brittany was just more aggressive than the other one. I ended up drinking a little too much and forgot the timid sister even existed for a while. That led to my little mix up."
            "Who would have guessed..."
            "Listen, can we not talk about my exes?"
            ", how's the wife?"
            James and his old roommate continued with random small talk for some time, with James only paying some detached attention as he flipped through the pages of the strange book. After a while, Tom comments about how it was getting late and hung up. James stood up and wandered over to the front door, wondering if it wasn't too late to walk down to the liquor store.
            Tom was a much different man than what James knew in college. Back then he was lazy, unintelligent, showered rarely and was promiscuous, even after he started dating Meg Hart. After Meg was murdered, he took on a slightly different perspective on life. Now he was happily married with a child, a second on the way and word was that he actually took up showering regularly. Not much could be said for his intelligence, but seeing how he graduated and James never got the chance, he would reserve the right to insult the man.
            A steady rain had begun outside, so James dismissed the notion for more booze and decided to retire for the night. The ache in his head wasn't going away and his amateur treatment of cigarettes and more cigarettes didn't seem to be working. He resisted the urge to look at the book anymore as he wandered his way into his bedroom and kicked off his shoes. After spending the last few nights sleeping on couches, the allure of his was bed was strong.
            He laid in bed and listened to the rain hit his window for a time while he lost himself in his own thoughts. He kept going back to the night the Praque siblings and Tom all went to the party without him. He wondered what would have happened if he had gone and hooked up with one of the sisters, or had at least prevented Tom from mixing up sisters. What could have changed from that one night in Cazenovia?
            "Meg would still be dead and I'd still be kicked out," he said, partly answering his own question. But he also wondered what impact things would be for the sisters. Maybe if one of them ended up with Tom, they would be the happy wife living in some suburb outside of Buffalo and the other sister wouldn't have ended up in Chicago. Either way, Stephanie wouldn't have been where she had been when she died.
            But James then pondered the actual ritual murders themselves. It had to be Stephanie and it had to be in that house. Would someone else had died in that house or would Stephanie would have died elsewhere? He decided these questions were too big for him in his current tired state and attempted to drift into sleep. His last thought was that of regret; That somehow, some way, he would have been able to spare Stephanie her fate if he had only a little more backbone back in college.

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